Toronto, Ontario (July 06, 2014) â Italyâs Autodromo Nazionale Monza played host to Round 5 of the 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS Series this weekend, 5th-6th July, the event proving to be a mixed bag for Canada’s Luke Chudleigh.
The double-header netted the 19-year-old a sixth place finish on Saturday but the same race would also see him fracture his thumb after a violent run over a kerb fighting for position on the final lap. Â It proved to be his undoing as the series race director wouldnât clear him to compete on Sunday, despite Lukeâs protestations that he was good to go and had completed Saturdayâs race with the fracture.
Chudleigh had been aiming for his first European podium from the Monza race, such was his confidence in the pace of his Tech1 Racing VitamindripÂ®-entry after strong back-to-back performances in Austria and Belgium at the prior rounds.
Events turned out differently as the team struggled to find that pace in the package in the build up to Saturdayâs 15-lap race. Â Caught out by the warmer than expected temperatures, a pair of Row 7 qualifying slots were the best Chudleigh could achieve with the car beneath him.
Lukeâs tactics to simply attack at the flag on Saturday afternoon, combined with a revised package, quickly netted dividends. Â Showcasing one of his trademark fast starts, the Milton racer set to work gaining ground on the competition. Â
An aggressive race performance followed and he skillfully worked his way up the order describing his car now as a âmissileâ. Â Charging into the top-ten, Lukeâs mission to salvage points from his lower than expected start slot saw him successfully pass for eighth, seventh then finally sixth on the final three laps, his car coming alive in the race as his tires came up to temperature. Â It was passing for sixth where he fractured his thumb but he held on to take the checkered for another top-six finish.
The race was won by Monacoâs Charles Leclerc with Italyâs Alessio Rovera and Austriaâs Stefan Riener in third. Â Sundayâs race, with Luke forced to watch on from the sidelines, saw Leclerc claim the win again heading home Russiaâs Matevos Isaakyan and home-favorite Rovera.
“Well we really struggled in qualifying this weekend which had us playing catch up instead of fighting at the front,â stated Chudleigh. Â âI put that behind me though yesterday and just raced my way to the sharp end with an aggressive attack policy and a fantastic car once everything came alive. Â I enjoyed battling for position and to come away sixth wasnât a bad result, Iâll take the points. Â I also had the third fastest lap of the race so we turned things around together really well.
“Unfortunately my thumb injury suffered during that race ruled me out today. I wanted to race, we argued to race but the Series Director wouldnât allow me, simple as that. Â Itâs frustrating as I know I could have had us back up and in the hunt for that podium!”
The good news for Luke is that he now has plenty of time to let his thumb heal as his next Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS action comes at the end of August. Â A pre-race test at Italyâs Mugello circuit is followed by Round 6 at the track, hosted 5th-7th September.
Luke Chudleigh is supported by VitamindripÂ®, Chudleighâs, ARM Training, Tech1 Racing, Adidas and PRIME/Wickens Management.